This is the fox-hour.
Every night he stops in his hunt,
in his trail of chicken heads
and gutted rubbish bags
and comes to greet me: to hit
me with the shamelessness of his ambiguity,
with his intimate smell
of gonads and thicket and offal
which is hunger and life. Which is hunger.
I shouldn’t know, but
at crack of dawn he sheds his tail.
puts on a man’s suit, and tallies
his thieving accounts.
I shouldn’t know, yet I do:
for throughout my days
I feel the brush of his hidden tail
at turn of every corner
and his spoor, which is yours, pursues me
into my dreams, feral and red.
Asunción Álvarez is a graduate student in philosophy. She lives in London.
This poem probably came out of an assortment of things, as is usually the case: the English tale in its various retellings, Ted Hughes’s thought-fox, and watching one night a fox frolicking quite noisily on the lawn beneath my window.
“Mr. Fox” is for the fox himself, who didn’t like it.